Scotland's newest Bishop promises "service and friendship".
The new Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Galloway, Bishop John Cunningham
Commenting on his Episcopal Ordination as 7th Bishop of Galloway, today said;
My ordination as the 7th Bishop of Galloway is a moment of great happiness to me. While thanking my family and friends, my former fellow priests and Bishops in the Diocese of Paisley and all those who have helped and supported me throughout my time as a priest, I turn now to the clergy, religious and laity in the Diocese of Galloway and offer them a promise of service and friendship.
The Code of Canon law (Can: 383 “ 386) makes very clear the role and responsibilities of a Diocesan Bishop, he must;
˜be solicitous for all Christ s faithful, act with humanity and charity, ¦ ¦(show) special concern for his priests, ¦ ¦.foster vocations and above all, teach and illustrate to the faithful the truths of faith
I am honoured to accept these responsibilities and will do all in my power to discharge them.
Bishop Cunningham was ordained by Cardinal Keith O'Brien who in his homily referred to the arrival of St. Ninian at Whithorn 1600 years ago bringing Christianity to Scotland;
"this Diocese of Galloway is regarded as being the first historically in Scotland, with the year 397 being the one celebrated as the year of the arrival of Ninian in Galloway. The place of Galloway as a recognised diocese in our Catholic Church was recognised at the Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1878 “ and Bishop John will be the seventh Bishop of Galloway since that same Restoration."
Addressing the new Bishop, Cardinal O'Brien added:
"Along with my brother Bishops, John, I ask you to realise something of the enormity of the task which faces us as leaders in the Christian Church at this present time. We might think that it was easier in the earlier centuries of the Church s history, even back to the time of Ninian, to sow the seeds of the Christian faith among people who had never heard of the wonders of the Christian message. Now we might say that many peoples in our country have listened to the Christian message and have rejected it; perhaps the seeds of Christianity have fallen often on rocky soil in our country.
We are called upon to re-Christianise Scotland as best we can by our own words, by our own actions. Our apostolate extends to all of the flock given to us: to the young, whether still at school or growing up in an indifferent world; to young people embarking upon marriage and family life without the same standards to live by as those in years past; your message must go out to those who are unemployed and perhaps are struggling to maintain decent standards in their family lives; to those who have come to our shores and who are struggling to establish themselves in our land; to the elderly and the old, to those in indifferent health, to those who are ill and housebound. You must, like those earlier apostles of old, teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in season and out of season, encouraging the faithful to work with you in your apostolic task and listening willingly to what they have to say “ as we are told in the Church s ceremonial for this occasion. And your outreach must extend to those who are not yet of our faith, to those who have not accepted the Christian message."
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Notes to editors:
1.Pope John Paul II has appointed Mgr. John Cunningham as the new Bishop of Galloway on 7 April 2004.
2.The new Bishop-elect succeeds Bishop Maurice Taylor who will retire after 23 years as Bishop.
3.The Episcopal ordination will take place on Friday 28 May 2004 at 7pm at the Good Shepherd Cathedral in Ayr. The ordaining Bishop will be Cardinal O'Brien as Metropolitan, with the co-consecrators being Bishop Maurice Taylor and Bishop John Mone.
4. Bishop Cunningham, uniquely, is one of three brothers all of whom were priests in the Diocese of Paisley. His brothers are; Canon Thomas Cunningham, St. Cadoc's, Newton Mearns and Canon James Cunningham, St. James, Renfrew.
5. A biography of Bishop Cunningham is shown below.
BIOGRAPHY. BISHOP JOHN CUNNINGHAM
St. Mary's P.S. 1943-1949
Blairs College 1949-1954
St. Peter's College, Cardross 1954-1960
Scots College, Rome & Gregorian University 1960-1964
St. Mirin's Cathedral, Paisley 29 June 1961
Our Lady of Lourdes, Bishopton 1964-1969
Chaplain to Moredun Convent 1969-1974
St.Columba's, Renfrew 1974-1986
Officialis Scottish National Tribunal 1986-1992
(As Parish Priest)
St. Patrick's Greenock since 1992
Vicar General of Diocese of paisley since 1997
Prelate of Honour since 1999
Ordained Bishop 28 May 2004